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June 28, 2007


Mark Wadsworth

Excellent broadside. Do you favour "small government"?


There may be two cases for having someone in office who is intelligent, well-informed and capable of good judgement. (1) He might avoid superblunders (Iraq, for example). (2) He might, and this is a long shot, realise his limitations and try to delegate/devolve/denationalise, or whatever. Otherwise, I pretty much agree with your points.


What dearime said.


Someone needs to be contrarian. You're guilty of your own attribution error Chris. I realise it satisfies some obscure need in your ego to totally discount agency effects, but in fact the evidence doesn't seem to be on your side.

You have some good stuff to say, but you'll be much more convincing when you don't overplay your hand.


A catchy slogan for Chris' views came to mind "Managerialism through the Market." He doesn't really believe in any expertise, despite all his waffle about "leaving skilled employees to do their job" he doesn't actually believe there is any such thing as skill...

Now, no doubt he'll protest that diagnosing an economy is harder than diagnosing an illness in a human being, but that just reveals how profoundly he misunderstands the nature of both processes.

Laban Tall

"The solution here is not to find the best brains, because even these are inadequate. Instead, it is to find the best mechanisms for doing without brains."

"All the senior officers of the German Army were taught a uniform system of military science. This was the legacy of the elder Moltke, who reasoned that since for a country to be endowed with a military leader of genius was a matter of luck, and that the fate of a nation should not be allowed to depend upon chance, therefore by the application of military science it must be made possible for even mediocre men to put strategic concepts successfully into effect."

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, August 1914


The talent needed is a talent for management, not for managerialism. And the skills come from realising that you have to be self-critical and address the improvements needed in your own performance. True management delegates while guiding - and indeed you end up using skilled and brainy people who may well rise to challenge your own position. May the best person win.


I couldn't hear Gordon witter on about doing his 'outmost' without my heart sinking. Chris is surely right in broad terms. But...

(i) Just coz you can't solve the big problems doesn't mean you can't make things a lot worse. There are asymmetries here.

(ii) Gordon is earnest and thinks sober conviction will do the job. Tony thought being passionate made all the difference. At least we're through with that charade.

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